Tuesday 31 May 2022

31st May 2022

 Weather:  WSW force 4

A brief look around before departing from an overnight stay was in time to see 30 Gannets on the sea, a LIttle Egret and both male and female Eiders.

Monday 30 May 2022

30th May 2022

 Weather:  SW force 4, WSW 5 by noon and WNW early evening. Rain on and off most of the day

The wet westerly airstream did not do our observers any favours today but at least the Lesser Whitethroat from yesterday was surprisingly still present and could be heard singing in the SK paddock all day between the downpours. The strength of the wind brought very many Gannets in view from the island, there were a minimum of 225 birds sighted but there were probably more, with 3 Common Scoter, a Kittiwake, 90 Common and 30 Sandwich Terns the other sea feeding birds seen today. Seven Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were on the shore but very few waders were with them, just 15 Turnstone, about 10 Oystercatcher and a Dunlin. 

A single Greenland Wheatear was here in the rain. An Oak Egger caterpillar was found on the hawthorn in the obs garden, probably the second for the island after the one seen 18 days ago.

  and a Mottled Beauty was pleasing in the moth trap.

The Netted Pug is regular at Hilbre in May but is not too frequent on the mainland.

The pick of the butterflies was a Painted Lady. A low tide seal count recorded 429 hauled out on the west hoyle bank, a decent number for the Dee.

Photos GB

Sunday 29 May 2022

29th May 2022

Weather:  NE force 4, rain clearing to showers

A cool and wet start to the early morning but as the rain cleared and members ventured out the sound of a singing Lesser Whitethroat (the first this year) greeted them around the area of the bungalows.

 Although the bird was very mobile it continued to advertise itself in song and eventually showed well to the observers.

Following the bird around the island took up a good deal of the early morning period but in between while a female Eider was found at the north end (the regular male was not seen).

A wandering flock of 37 Canada Geese flew north up the east side of the island.

A pair of Shelduck stood on the rocks leading to the lifeboat station, where they would normally be when visitors are about.

  Three Greenalnd Wheatears landed during the morning period.....

 ..............and a Willow Warbler also turned up after the rain in the obs garden and continued to stay the day, also a single Swift flew east across the island, observers were expecting more in this typical Swift weather.

 A juvenile Song Thrush was ringed today.

Meanwhile  Rock Pipits continue to feed young, the prey species in this case may be recognised by those who have an interest in insects.

 Towards the middle of the afternoon a separate visit found not only that the Lesser Whitethroat was still present in song but was joined by the Willow Warbler and also a Common Whitethroat that was obviously newly arrived. Our insect speialist found a nice looking wasp beetle in the obs.

Waders had been very scarce before the tide (just Oystercatchers and 2 Turnstone), a few however showed after the ebb namely 29 Sanderling, 10 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plover. The Willow Warbler brought the day to a lovely end by singing in the obs garden.

Photos GB, AEH, CJ

Monday 23 May 2022

23rd May 2022

 Weather: WNW force 3

A brief mid-morning visit found just 3 Greenland Wheatears present as true migrants through the island. Among the breeding birds a Song Thrush was feeding again making us supect a second brood, while there were 3 female Pied Wagtails were at the north end and 2 juvenile Meadow Pipits in a count of 14 seen. An unringed Rock Pipit was found with 7 others recorded today. On the sea 28 Common and 6 Sandwich Terns fed, and on the shore 12 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone did likewise. Two Grey Herons were vastly outnumbered by a count of 12 Little Egrets. Butterfly sightings included 4 Green-veined Whites, and moths 4 Cinnabar and 2 Marbled Coronets.

Sunday 22 May 2022

22nd May 2022

 Weather: ESE force 3  veering S then W in the morning

A female Whinchat was a good find at the south end, but as we know they can be quite elusive and it was not seen again despite it moving towards the middle of the island. A wandering Woodpigeon became a surprise visitor early morning, then traditional migrants arrived in the form of 2 House Martins and a Redpoll. Five Greenland Wheatears were recorded.

 Swallows are setting up home...

and nesting activity increases among Linnets, Meadow Pipits (a juvenile was sighted already this morning) and Rock Pipits (10 were counted)

Three Whimbrel and 25 Ringed Plover were the pick of the waders. The Eider was again sitting on the whaleback. A single Painted Lady butterfly was flitting on the west side but wouldn't pose for photos, the first here this year. Occasionally this migrant species arrives in massive numbers in some years. The moth trap last night proved to be productive with a wide range of species to identify such as Treble Lines, Marbled Coronet, Flame Shoulder, Vine's Rustic, Silver Y, Bright-line Brown-eye, Buff-tip, Lime-speck Pug, etc.

Photos SRW

Saturday 21 May 2022

21st May 2022

 Weather: SW force 3     backing SSW then S during the day

A relatively quiet day but Greenland Wheatears have been regular visitors on their way north this last week or so, today 4 were feeding along west side and popping up on some of the fences.

The breeding birds are very active, Blackbirds, Rock Pipits etc are keeping pace with the Linnets, Wrens and Swallows.

 Amongst the shore feeders there were 12 Little Egrets plus a single Grey Heron.

A single female Red-breasted Merganser was more of a surprise.

 A hundred Common Terns on view outnumbered Sandwich by about 10 to 1. The waders included one Whimbrel, 60 Knot, also 100 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plover around the island.



The drake Eider was joined briefly by an immature male as it rested on the rocks.

 The Short-tailed field voles are normally just seen whizzing through the undergrowth, so a chance to study an individual in the open is a rare sight

 Photos AEH

Friday 20 May 2022

20th May 2022

Weather: SSE force 2/3   veering SW later

 No migrants showing this morning execpt for 3 Greenland Wheatears, this one was on the obs fence.

 Attention was therefore on the breeding birds, there seems to be 2 pairs of Rock Pipits on Middle and 3 on the main island where they were seen to be carrying food.

 Some of the Swallows were nest building.

Three new Linnets were ringed and one was retrapped as a young bird in 2020 which has obviously settled down to breed. A Common Scoter and the Eider stayed about the island.

A small number of waders were noted: 3 Whimbrel, 40 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover and 6 Turnstones. Five Little Egrets and 2 Grey Heron were feeding while tern sightings were single figures only of the 2 commoner species. This frog was near the SK trap.

 Photos AS

Thursday 19 May 2022

19th May 2022

 Weather: WSW force 3

A very brief mid-morning visit to see what might be around after the switch to a westerly airstream, and the answer was not too much ! A single Greenland Wheatear was the sole identifiable migrant at that stage. The drake Eider was at the north end, there were 2 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Heron, 16 Turnstone, 250 Dunlin, 40 Common with 8 Sandwich Terns and 6 Little Egrets seen.

Both Kestrel and Peregrine were seen, sightings of the latter have been somewhat less predictable lately. A Cinnabar Moth flew with 2 Red Admirals and 4 Green-veined White butterflies. A second visit in the evening enabled serene pictures of the Hilbre landscape at dusk.


 Photos SRW 

Wednesday 18 May 2022

18th May 2022

 Weather: ESE force 4

Migrants were scarce this morning, the highlight probably being a Sedge Warbler caught for ringing after only very few having been seen so far this spring. It was singing in the obs garden.

Single Whitethroat and Chiffchaff completed the warblers today, but 6 Greenland Wheatears kept up their recent numbers, one was on Little Eye first thing. Apart from the hirundines and a couple of Goldfinches the only other 'migrant' was a Woodpigeon flying south over the sea.

A single Sand Martin came through, but no House Martins which have been appearing in numbers over the last few days, whereas about 3 dozen Swallows passed after few here over the same period. The Eider turned up again after being missing the previous day. Some nice views of waders were obtained at high tide with no disturbance, there were 5 Whimbrel, 26 Turnstone, 95 Sanderling, 650 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover and 95 Ringed Plover.

 Just 6 Sandwich Terns seen today, they were once again outnumbered by 78 Common Terns.

Other birds today included 7 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, 12 Shelduck, 5 Mallard, 22 Great Black-backed Gulls and 12 Lesser Black-backed. Two Kestrels were on the island today. Never before been found at Hilbre despite the moth being big and readily coming to light was the caterpillar of the Oak Egger moth seen today. Always good to list a new species for the island.

Our insect expert commented that although he had previously found one of its specialist parasitoids at the moth lamp, he had assumed it must have wandered over from Wirral. Green-veined White butterflies were flying today,

Also this Brown Silver-line, a bracken feeder, of which many areas of Hilbre are now overrun, and perhaps we could do with more of them !

  Ringed: 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff. (neither species was here yesterday)

Photos SRW